The New South Wales (NSW) government is deliberating on the possibility of raising the tax on all bets made within the state from 15 to 20 percent, prompted by a proposal from industry leader Tabcorp. If implemented, this move could have significant ramifications for corporate bookmakers, including major players like Sportsbet and Ladbrokes.

Treasurer’s statement: balancing fairness and public benefit:

Treasurer Daniel Mookhey, addressing the issue on Friday, asserted that the government would carefully consider increasing the point of consumption tax (POCT) to align with Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). He emphasized the importance of ensuring that gambling companies contribute their fair share, stating, “Gambling companies should always be paying their fair share … the NSW government will apply strict scrutiny to Tabcorp’s proposal. Change will happen if it’s clear the public will be better off.”

The concept of the point of consumption tax was introduced in 2019 to ensure that corporate bookmakers pay tax to the state where a bet is placed rather than where the bookmaker is registered. Tabcorp, a key proponent of this tax reform, has long advocated for a level playing field across the wagering sector. The disparity in taxation between Tabcorp and other corporate bookmakers, particularly those registered in the Northern Territory, has been a point of contention.

Tabcorp’s perspective, leveling the playing field:

Tabcorp, holding the NSW retail betting license and enjoying thoroughbred racecourse sponsorship exclusivity, views the proposed tax increase as a means to create a fairer competitive landscape and modernize retail exclusivity. The company welcomed the potential tax adjustment, citing it as a positive step towards ensuring the sustainability of the NSW racing industry.

The ripple effects of NSW’s decision on betting taxes could extend beyond state borders. With NSW and Victoria already committed to increasing the POCT to 15 percent, a further 5 percent increase in NSW could influence other states, including Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Sportsbet chief executive Barni Evans expressed apprehension regarding the proposal, cautioning against prioritizing one stakeholder over the long-term sustainability of the industry. Evans highlighted the decline in Queensland racing revenue following its tax hike, emphasizing the importance of fostering wagering turnover growth for the industry’s sustainability.

Navigating the future: striking a balance:

As discussions unfold and decisions loom, stakeholders across the betting industry await clarity on the potential tax adjustments. Balancing the need for revenue generation with the imperative of sustaining the industry’s growth trajectory poses a complex challenge for policymakers and industry players alike.